MEET THE MVP: Hallettsville's Reagan McAda goes out as state champion
June 29, 2013 at 1:29 a.m.
HALLETTSVILLE - Hallettsville coach Shorty Cook knew Reagan McAda would be his starting pitcher for Game 2 of the Brahmas' best-of-three Class 2A regional final series against Marion.
McAda sprained his left ankle two days earlier while fielding a ground ball at second base in the fifth and final inning of Hallettsville's Game 1 win over the Bulldogs.
McAda's ankle was taped and he was limping noticeably when the Brahmas arrived at New Braunfels Canyon, but Cook didn't waver.
"I can't say not one bit, but I knew that he had a big heart, and I knew he had a mission and a goal in mind," Cook said. "I didn't think there was any way I was going to be able to keep him off that mound."
McAda pitched into the eighth inning. He also went 2 for 4 with two RBIs at the plate to help Hallettsville rally for a 5-4 win and earn its first state tournament berth since 1998.
McAda was back on the mound five days later for the state championship game against No. 1 Hughes Springs at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
The senior responded by pitching a complete game and going 2 for 3 at the plate to lead the Brahmas to a 4-2 win and their third state championship and first since 1997.
McAda was named the MVP of the championship game and the state tournament team.
McAda finished the season with a 10-0 record, a 1.21 ERA, and 101 strikeouts in 81 innings. He hit .354 with 37 RBIs and had a .453 on-base percentage.
McAda graduated No. 8 in his class and will attend Texas A&M in the fall.
He is uncertain if he will attempt to make the baseball team as a walk-on.
But if McAda decides not to play, he'll end his career as the MVP of the 2013 Victoria Advocate All-Area Baseball Team.
Q: What do you like about baseball?
A: Growing up it always seemed to be my sport. I know I can remember just waiting for my dad (Wesley) to come home after work and just had a bucket of baseballs out. It's always stuck with me. I played select league from 8 to 13. It's always been a huge passion of mine.
Q: Who had an influence on your success?
A: My father was always there for me. We worked out until it was time to quit. A lot of coaches, especially over at the Shiner Starplex who helped out. A lot of Little League coaches and of course, coach Cook, coach (Ryan) Barnes and coach (Tim) Bridges did everything for me when I got to high school.
Q: Why do you think this group of seniors was so successful?
A: We always dreamed about it in all-stars. First it was the Little League World Series. That didn't quite turn out. It seemed like we stuck together and kept our eyes on the goal.
Q: What did losing in extra innings of Game 3 of the regional finals as a junior mean?
A: It definitely hurt seeing that we were so close, especially when we saw Jarrell win the thing. Just knowing that was great motivation for the next year.
Q: What were your thoughts before you took the mound for the state final?
A: It really sunk in when I was going to the bullpen and thinking how blessed I was to have these opportunities. Sitting in the dugout before the game and Hughes Springs took in and out just looking up and thinking all the things I've been blessed with over the years.
Q: What did you see when second baseman Nate Kowalik fielded the ball hit up the middle, stepped on the bag and threw to first baseman Will Wallace for the game-ending double play in the championship game?
A: I didn't quite know the runner was going at the time. It was a little louder. My first thoughts were that I should have had the ground ball that went right by me. I looked back, and I saw Nate on the bag and as he's falling over throwing the ball to first. Just like that, it was over. I can remember looking at Will, who had his hands up and then he threw his glove up, and then I looked straight to (catcher) Dylan (Kerr), and that's when it all started.
Q: You've had some time to reflect on the state championship. What does it mean to you?
A: I don't know if it's still 100 percent sunk in yet. You go around town, and people are constantly congratulating you. It's so surreal that we were able to go out on top, especially the seniors our last year.
Q: Why did you decide to attend Texas A&M instead of going somewhere where you could continue to play baseball?
A: I know it was tough. I was raised an Aggie from diapers. I'd been thinking about it a lot, even at the start of the season. I prayed over it quite a bit and felt like that was my calling to go to school at the time.